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Rosé Colored Glasses

AJC​
October 1, 2017
By Gil Kulers

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Keep your eye on the reds and pinks this fall.

Rosés are becoming a favorite of millennial wine drinkers.

A new term, “brosés,” enters the lexicon of American wine drinkers and in two syllables sums up the explosion of dry pink wine sales in the United States. While women have enjoyed refreshingly crisp, dry rosé for more than a decade, men (the “bro” in brosé) finally decided it’s OK to be seen drinking a pink wine in public. Men now almost mirror their female counterparts in terms of rosé consumption. And the love fest shows no signs of slowing.

Rosé bottle sales grew an astonishing 44 percent in 2016 over 2015 and, perhaps more incredibly, dollar sales volume rose 54 percent, indicating rosé lovers are not only buying more, they’re willing to pay more, according to the market research company IRI. Any trend eventually leads to millennials these days. As they influence our language with their hashtaggable portmanteaux (more than 20,000 #brosé posts on Instagram), they also are in the driver’s seat for wine sales.

“There are two younger generations of wine buyers and drinkers who did not grow up with sweet, mass-produced rosés—from Lancers and Mateus to the many white zins—like baby boomers did,” says Kathleen Inman, owner and winemaker for Inman Family Wines in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Inman has been making her well-regarded Endless Crush Rosé of Pinot Noir for more than a decade. What she used to hear in her tasting room was some version of: “Ugh. I do not drink rosé!”

“Nowadays, no matter how much I make, I can’t keep it in stock,” Inman says. Her 2016 vintage of Endless Crush sold out in three weeks this past February.

Inman can easily see rosé madness—once reserved for summer-only sipping— pushing into fall and winter. “I think that rosé is a year-round wine. I particularly love rosé with Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey.”

There are now more than 550,000 places to buy wine these days in the U.S. That’s an increase of 120,000 outlets in the past decade. As Americans shake off neo-prohibitionist stigmas about alcohol, we now see wines being enjoyed in bookshops, movie theaters and car washes, according to the market research firm Nielsen.